Craft & Design
Artist repairs spiderwebs


Nina Katchadourian is an artist who’s done some interesting work mending spiderwebs. From her site:

The Mended Spiderweb series came about during a six-week period in June and July in 1998 which I spent on Pörtö. In the forest and around the house where I was living, I searched for broken spiderwebs which I repaired using red sewing thread. All of the patches were made by inserting segments one at a time directly into the web. Sometimes the thread was starched, which made it stiffer and easier to work with. The short threads were held in place by the stickiness of the spider web itself; longer threads were reinforced by dipping the tips into white glue. I fixed the holes in the web until it was fully repaired, or until it could no longer bear the weight of the thread. In the process, I often caused further damage when the tweezers got tangled in the web or when my hands brushed up against it by accident.

The morning after the first patch job, I discovered a pile of red threads lying on the ground below the web. At first I assumed the wind had blown them out; on closer inspection it became clear that the spider had repaired the web to perfect condition using its own methods, throwing the threads out in the process. My repairs were always rejected by the spider and discarded, usually during the course of the night, even in webs which looked abandoned. The larger, more complicated patches where the threads were held together with glue often retained their form after being thrown out, although in a somewhat “wilted” condition without the rest of the web to suspend and stretch them. Each “Rejected Patch” is shown next to the photograph showing the web with the patch as it looked on site.

Via BoingBoing.

8 thoughts on “Artist repairs spiderwebs

  1. Yet another exmple of how humankind makes more problems by trying to ‘help’ nature…the work that poor spider had cutting out the garbage from it’s web… we think we are so much smarter than mother earth and can ‘help’ her….

  2. I’d totally agree with Volkemon.
    As soon as I seen the title I thought “You’d have to be a pretty crap spider to need a human to repair your web.”

    It’s incredible how much humans meddle with the intricacies of nature, thinking they can improve on it.

  3. interesting that an attempt was made to fix a problem with so little research. the web material is a valuable protein to the spider. they do not “mend” a web, they consume the remaining web to replenish their protein levels every night and reweave the web, without it they would need to eat twice as much to be able to maintain a web. the spider was not rejecting the mend, it was just consuming the useful material and discarding the rest before re creating it’s work.

Comments are closed.


Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

View more articles by Becky Stern